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Terry Woster

WOSTER: How I missed Miller's big game

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WOSTER: How I missed Miller's big game
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Might as well confess this right smack in the heart of Mitchell Kernel country.

I didn't watch the last game of the National Basketball Association playoffs. You know the one. The championship game for the Miami Heat?

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The game in which Mike Miller hit seven of eight three-point shots and scored 23 points to do way, way more than his fair share to make sure his team went out winners?

Yeah, that game. Missed it completely.

I picked up on it later when I did some channel flipping. I saw a mob of players on the basketball court with LeBron James talking to a TV guy and Miller in the background.

Everybody in the shot was wearing a brand-new baseball cap, so even from across the room where I couldn't read the printing on the cap, I was aware instantly that the Heat won the NBA playoffs, became champions of basketball.

I turned the volume up a little and listened long enough to figure out the score and the fact that Miller had played an essential part in the victory. I listened long enough to decide I should have watched the game -- or at least set the recorder.

Yes, I'm going to figure out how to do that one of these days. I haven't seen many things on television that I figured I'd miss enough to learn a new trick, but I'd have done it to see Mike Miller drain a bunch of long-range shots.

Meaning no disrespect to the game of basketball, I don't much care for the professional variety. I enjoy high-school games. I like watching some of the big-name colleges, although usually not enough to stay through the first half.

I'll watch reruns of the Jackrabbits, and I can watch re-reruns of SDSU's women's team just about any evening.

But the professional game generally is a bunch of big guys slugging each other and hogging the ball.

Right, I understand. That's just me. You might think basketball is the Bolshoi Ballet, and you'd probably think I'm crazy if you found out I could watch re-reruns of the 1960 Olympic 400-meter dash 100 times just to see Otis Davis kick the field in 44.9 seconds.

Boring, you might say. What I'm telling you is, I understand that I have a skewed notion of what's worth watching in televised sports.

I used to watch the old Celtics, but I kind of lost interest in the newer versions of that team. When Mike Miller joined the NBA from Florida, I started catching at least parts of games when his team was playing.

When he left the floor, I lost interest in the game. When he switched teams, I switched loyalties, which is how I came to be interested in the Miami Heat.

I mean, here's a kid -- well, OK, he's quite a ways from a kid, given the toll the years on the court have taken on his body -- out of Mitchell who became an NBA champion.

Here's a kid I saw play junior varsity basketball in the Corn Palace against my younger son, Andy, and the kid became the NBA Rookie of the Year. Here's a kid I watched give passing and dribbling and shooting clinics in numerous high-school games, and he became a March Madness highlight.

And, way more personally, here's a kid who came back to Sioux Falls for a Sanford fund-raiser and treated my granddaughters as if they were the most important girls in the hall, posing for pictures and grinning like it was the best time of his life.

How could I not follow his career?

So, I followed the Heat's path to the Finals. Toward the end, I lost faith. He wasn't getting much playing time, hobbled as he was.

Like I say, I don't get excited about the pro game if he isn't on the court, and after his limited playing time in Game Four, I didn't think he'd get the call at all in Game Five.

What in the world was I thinking?

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